Illegal Retaliation

Illegal Retaliation
It is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant because:
The tenant has complained to a governmental agency regarding health or safety concerns,
The tenant has complained to the landlord about violations of Vermont’s landlord/tenant laws,
The tenant has organized or become a member of a tenant association.
This provision does not prevent the landlord from bringing a good-faith action to recover rent if the tenant fails to pay.
Retaliation can take a number of forms. For example: a landlord tries to change the terms of a tenancy, such as by raising the rent, saying the tenant can no longer have pets, or saying the tenant can no longer use some part of the property anymore. Any of these actions could be retaliatory if a landlord does them to punish or get rid of a tenant who complained about a problem with the home.  If the landlord serves notice of termination of tenancy for any reason other than nonpayment of rent, within 90 days after notice by a municipal or state agent that the premises are not in compliance with health or safety regulations, it is presumed to be retaliatory.  The burden of proof that the eviction is not retaliatory would be upon the landlord.
If a landlord tries to evict a tenant after the tenant complains about problems, this eviction could also be an act of retaliation. To evict the tenant a landlord will have to go to court. If the court agrees that the eviction is not for a legitimate reason but rather is an act of retaliation, the tenant will not have to leave, and in addition could be awarded money damages and attorney fees. In Vermont state law, see: (V.S.A., TITLE 9, Chapter 137, § 4465. Retaliatory conduct prohibited)

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